Schorreck Memorial Lecture Series

Schorreck Memorial Lecture Series

The Schorreck Memorial Lecture Series is an annual program featuring historical lectures named in honor of the former NSA Historian Henry F. Schorreck who passed away in June 2004. The Series is sponsored by the Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) with support from the NCMF. The lectures included in the series are presented by preeminent scholars who address cryptologic issues with an historical perspective. Previous talks have been delivered by scholars in the field such as David Kahn, Christopher Andrew, John Ferris, and Stephen Budiansky. These talks are held in the Magic Room of the National Cryptologic Museum and are free and open to the public.

Upcoming Program - 25 May 2017

We hope you will join us for the 2017 Henry F. Schorreck Lecture Speaker Series....“CODEBREAKING AND THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY: WHEN CRYPTANALYSIS CAME OF AGE," with special guest speaker Elliot Carlson, author of the celebrated biography of CMDR Joseph Rochefort, cryptologic hero of the Battle of Midway - Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway.

***We expect a full house for this presentation, so ADVANCED REGISTRATION is required. Please email and/or and provide the number of seats requested. We will confirm your reservations and answer any questions or concerns.***


On 3-7 June 1942, the United States defeated Japan in the Battle of Midway, one of the most decisive battles in world history. The battle regained the initiative in the Pacific for the United States after its setback at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 while placing Japan on the strategic defensive from which it never fully recovered. On the 75th Anniversary of this US naval victory, you are invited to hear ELLIOT CARLSON discuss the pivotal role that intelligence played in it. In particular, Carlson will discuss the breaking of JN-25, the Japanese Imperial Fleet’s operational code, by codebreakers at Station Hypo in Hawaii led by CMDR Joseph Rochefort USN.

Elliot Carlson traces his interest in the Pacific War to his first stop after graduate school, living in Hawaii and writing editorials for the Honolulu Advertiser. After winning a Congressional Fellowship that took him to Washington, Carlson began a journalistic career during which he worked as a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. He also free-lanced from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, writing for such publications as the International Herald Tribune and the Toronto Star. He served as editor of the AARP Bulletin until 2004, at which time he retired and resumed his interest in the Pacific War, beginning work on the Joe Rochefort biography.

Elliot’s current project is an investigation of the scandal that erupted in Washington in 1942 when the Chicago Tribune carried an article that seemed to reveal top secret Navy information. His book on this topic will be published by the Naval Institute Press this October.

Elliot holds degrees from Stanford University (MA) and the University of Oregon (BS); he lives with his wife in Silver Spring, MD.

To register, contact and/or and provide the number of seats requested. We will confirm your reservations and answer any questions or concerns.

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Previous Lectures

Daniel Olson, FBI

THE 2016 SCHORRECK LECTURE SPEAKER SERIES took place Monday, 20 June 2016 from 0930 to 1100 at the National Cryptologic Museum.

The Lecture....Crime and Cryptology...featured History and highlights of the FBI‘s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, and was presented by Daniel Olson, Unit Chief, Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, FBI Laboratory, Quantico, Virginia.

Over the past 75 years the codebreakers of the FBI Laboratory have been engaged in a high stakes battle of wits against spies, terrorists, violent criminals, gangs, and criminal syndicates. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the history, milestones, successes and failures of the FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit. Highlights will include both solved and unsolved ciphers from notorious criminals such as the Zodiac killer of the 1960s, the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) serial killer Dennis Raeder, and the enciphered journal of Ted Kaczynski, the infamous UNABOMBER. 

Daniel Olson is the Unit Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cryptanalysis & Racketeering Records Unit at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. From 1988 to 1997 Dan served as an intelligence analyst and cryptanalyst in the United States Army and was assigned to an electronic warfare company in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during operation Desert Shield/Storm 1990-91. From 1993 to 1997 he provided intelligence support to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1997 Dan transferred to the FBI as a cryptanalyst. Since that time he has been involved in the decryption of criminal codes and ciphers involving domestic and international terrorists, violent criminals, drug traffickers, street and prison gangs, and organized crime. He has been recognized as an expert in cryptology in federal and state courts throughout the United States and has been featured on the History Channel, Court TV, CNN, and NBC Nightly News. Dan holds a B.A. in Criminology from Saint Leo College in Florida and a Masters in Forensic Science from George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Joel F. Brenner

Former NSA Inspector General and Senior Counsel Joel F. Brenner

The Center for Cryptologic History's 2015 Henry F. Schorreck Memorial Lecture took place at the National Cryptologic Museum on 15 May 2015. 

The speaker was former NSA Inspector General and Senior Counsel Joel F. Brenner with a presentation titled: “Forty Years after Church-Pike: What’s Different Now?” Mr. Brenner, from his unique perspective as NSA’s former IG (2002-2006) and DNI’s head of counterintelligence (2006-2009), discussed the impact of Church-Pike and what has changed during the past four decades. He has written about intelligence oversight and presidential authorities and is often quoted in the national media on data security, privacy, and intelligence issues.  He recently authored an influential book titled America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime and Warfare.

Dr. Peter W. Donovan, New South Wales - Speaker at Schorreck Memorial Lectures

Dr. Peter W. Donovan of the Department of Mathematics, New South Wales, Australia

The Schorreck Lecture speaker in 2013 was Dr. Peter W. Donovan of the Department of Mathematics, University of New South Wales, Australia. A renowned expert in several fields of mathematics, as well as on cryptologic history, Dr. Donovan has conducted some of the most innovative and path-breaking work to date on the Allied effort to break Japanese encryption systems in use during WWII. He presented two separate lectures detailing the cipher war in the Pacific, including revelations about the weaknesses in the Japanese naval codes that the Allies exploited, all of which led to dramatic successes on the battlefield.

Dr. David Kahn, noted author and cryptologic historian

Dr. David Kahn, noted author and historian

To read the full text of the Lecture given by David Kahn on May 24, 2007 titled, “The Future of the Past: Questions in Cryptologic History," visit David Kahn's Web site.